Story stem assessment process

Story Stem Battery is an assessment tool which focuses on children's internal working models of attachments. This measure offers a sensitive way of investigating children's experience of troubled and painful attachment histories, prior to placement. These histories provide the child's initial powerful influence on the developing relationship.

The core of the assessment is to ask the children to respond to a set of story stems where they are given the beginning of a story highlighting everyday family scenarios with an inherent dilemma, family conflicts and emotionally challenging situations that are part of everyday childhood experience (separation from parents, parental discipline and setting boundaries, rejection/exclusion, sibling and peer relationships). Attachment patterns are assessed by video-recording the child's responses to a series of play situations, which are presented with the help of dolls and animal figures. This also has the advantage for younger children of allowing both verbal and non-verbal means of communication.

This technique allows the assessment of the child's expectations and perceptions of family roles, attachments and relationships, without asking the child direct questions about their family, adoptive or biological, which might cause them conflict or anxiety.

If you would like further information about our story stem service, or any of the expert services offered by Parents for Children, please contact Daniela Mandelli, Research Psychologist on [email protected] or call her on 020 7520 2880/1.